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My Games Design Portfolio


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#1 tega12   Members   -  Reputation: 117

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 09:32 AM

I recently put together a games design portfolio showing the work I did in university. I want to get some constructive feedback on what is good about the site and my work and what needs improving. 

 

Here is a link to my portfolio http://tegaenajekpo.wordpress.com/



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#2 walsh06   Members   -  Reputation: 658

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:10 AM

Im not expert as Im in the same position as you but looking at it here are some things I thought

 

1) Change the "Welcome to my website". Its showing for me on three lines "welcom - e to my - website" and just looks wrong

2) Your home page is empty and Im not sure why that is. You need to put stuff forward immediately to get attention and definitely your best work

3) Your about page doesnt really say much. You should have contact details here, personal information, degree information etc..

4) For your CV, Your computer skills section is usually a given at this point. You also should have some project information. In mine I give a brief description of projects I have worked on and what my specific responsibilites were. Your CV also should have some information on your education

5) Some of the project pages need a lot more information. The game design documents are good (I think only made a couple myself in college) but withsome mistakes in them which should be fixed. But others are a single line with images. You need to explain the game and what you did in it in a lot more detail.

 

Just some thoughts from a quick look at it. As I said Im no expert as Im still in college myself making my own portfolio but thought Id help



#3 tega12   Members   -  Reputation: 117

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:55 AM

Im not expert as Im in the same position as you but looking at it here are some things I thought

 

1) Change the "Welcome to my website". Its showing for me on three lines "welcom - e to my - website" and just looks wrong

2) Your home page is empty and Im not sure why that is. You need to put stuff forward immediately to get attention and definitely your best work

3) Your about page doesnt really say much. You should have contact details here, personal information, degree information etc..

4) For your CV, Your computer skills section is usually a given at this point. You also should have some project information. In mine I give a brief description of projects I have worked on and what my specific responsibilites were. Your CV also should have some information on your education

5) Some of the project pages need a lot more information. The game design documents are good (I think only made a couple myself in college) but withsome mistakes in them which should be fixed. But others are a single line with images. You need to explain the game and what you did in it in a lot more detail.

 

Just some thoughts from a quick look at it. As I said Im no expert as Im still in college myself making my own portfolio but thought Id help

 

Thanks for the feedback. 



#4 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 20363

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 11:51 PM

I started with my normal review style of viewing the entire web site from a potential employer standpoint.  I started doing that, but then realized in your case there was absolutely nothing about your web site that says "Hire me".  Normally there are a few good things that are gems: completed games, excellent projects, transferable skills.  But in this case I have gone through the entire site and found nothing compelling.  

 

When I look objectively at your web site, this is what I found:

  • A home page, devoted to a single poorly-written sentence.
  • "About", which is two sentences long.
  • A CV page that makes me want to cry for your life story.
  • A Flash game project --- which would have been a logical place to include the actual game --- where you have three screenshots plus a fourth duplicate screen shot.
  • A "Game Pitch" for a Buffy clone, but is actually four sentences and a link to a PowerPoint presentation. Opening the presentation reveals 7 pages of fluff that you could have pulled from a few minutes on Google, and a single page "Game Proposal" that includes spelling errors and is rather lacking on details.
  • Three documents that were first-year homework assignments. Most look like they were the form "Here is your assignment, hand it in tomorrow morning."
  • And your ENTIRE Year 2 Work, which is a story flowchart consisting of four branches.

I could find nothing good about the site. 

 

I tried to find something good about it. I tried hard. I spent nearly two hours going through it, writing and re-writing this post, then deleting it and starting over. The content needs to be completely scrapped and replaced with actual content, preferably content that will help you get a job.

 

The only things I feel after carefully reading your entire site many times are a mixture of empathy, sadness, and pity.

 

 

 

 

So trying to be constructive, let's see where we can go from here.

 
 

 

 

Please read all the documents linked to in the forum's FAQ.  Most of the information applies to you.  Also, please read all the links under Tom Sloper's web site "Sloperama", as again nearly all of the pages apply to your career choice.

 

You chose to go to a game design program.  That program is not BCS accredited. Whatever your reasons for selecting the school were, you have completed the program and that is where you are now. 

 

It appears you are looking for a job as a game designer.  Game designer is not an entry level position. You won't get an entry level job as a game designer.  It is possible to get a job as a level designer, but the odds of actually finding an opening are small and the odds of your current CV being the best of the lot is abysmal. You will not break in to the industry as a game designer unless there is some incredible detail that was left out of your information.

 

After reading the links in the forum FAQ, you need to pick a job that is entry level. Make that your goal.

 

What job do you want to get?  Of the jobs that are a reliable breaking in path, I recommend QA. Jobs are relatively plentiful.

 

 

 

 

Next up, your CV.

 

The personal profile doesn't tell me anything about you. The section is first and foremost to let HR know which pile gets the application. One simple sentence is enough for that.  If you choose to include a paragraph of prose after that first line, it should be a separate paragraph that proves your enthusiasm and ability to create high quality games. As it is, the words themselves say "I am creative, I can communicate", but the words are not creative, nor do they demonstrate clear written communication. The job is not just about communication, the job is about creating games. Show me that you can create incredible games.  If you are entering QA, show me (don't tell me) that you are passionate about details.

 

The Key Skills section needs to be cut completely. It does not tell me anything good about you, and it gives me plenty of reasons to NOT hire you. 

 

Because you do not have any serious work experience, you need your education to come before work experience.  Move it down.

 

For your education section, I can see is that you attended school. It does not communicate anything useful to an employer other than the school names and dates you attended. What did you actually do at Northumbria? Give a list of notable things that you did, what groups you did them with, and why they matter to a potential employer.  For example, you made a flash game, describe what you did. You wrote some game proposals, tell me why they actually matter to an employer.

 

The fact that you had A-levels is very slightly notable as an entry level worker, but again, what did you actually do there?  Did you gain any skills that you can apply in your game development job?  Please share them.

 

And you devote four lines to GCSEs, without mentioning a score.  While I understand that as a recent graduate with little useful work experience your GCSEs will be useful in getting a job in the UK, you seem to be placing a rather high value on passing the tests at age 16. At least they were enough to get you to A-levels.

 

After your education should be your employment history.  

 

You were a volunteer at a library, after it appears you were unsuccessful at finding a job in your chosen field after graduation. "Putting the books in order" and "putting labels inside of books" shows that you can do a job, and so I suppose if that is the best you've got, it shows you can hold a job.  Or maybe because you were a volunteer you didn't hold a job, I can't tell. 

 

For the rest, you need to understand what work experience means.

 

These things you list are not work experience.  "Casual Play Tester" either says you had a job and were immediately fired in under a month (which is really bad), or more likely you were invited to a studio and were the test subject of a playtest. Being a play test subject is not work experience. A few weeks as a student ambassador is not notable work experience. A few weeks of photocopying and filing documents is not notable work experience.  

 

Considering you graduated fourteen months ago, I would expect something in your work history to show that you can actually hold a job. Filing documents for a few weeks, showing people how to play games, and being a test subject don't look good. 

 

Assuming you are applying as an entry level QA position, I would move the single day as a play tester down under achievements, move the 'student ambassador' to a bullet point in your education, and cut the two weeks you spent in the summer as a 14-year-old photocopying documents.

 

 

Your achievements are ... well, not really achievements.  It looks like you did your course work, nothing more.  If there is something exceptional or notable about them, I don't see it.  Please correct me and say "This is a big achievement because of reasons."

 

Your interests similarly do not help you in any way. You like music, something you share with billions of other people.  You like playing Zelda, something shared by about five million other people. Normally I dislike an "interests" section because it gives me reasons NOT to like you, and it gives me no real evidence that you can do the job.

 

You need some things that say "I am an amazing game designer. You must have me."  Do you have anything like that?

 

 

After going through your web site all I can see is that you went to school, attended an unaccredited university course, and otherwise have done nothing of note. Is there more than that?

 

Is there anything in your background that puts you into a "must hire" category? 

 

 

 

 

Without something strong and notable, my recommendation is that you apply as a QA tester at any local studio, and DO NOT give them your web site link. While you hunt for that QA job, get a regular full time job doing anything.  Not volunteer at a library, but a real paid job that says you can go to work and hold down a steady job. Will the library hire you outright?  That would be best because you can list the years continuously. Even a regular job flipping burgers or making pizzas show that you can hold a job and provides evidence that you can actually work. At nights, when you are doing hunting for your QA job, spend time actually designing games and building a real portfolio of work. Search the web for real game design documents (there are many) and learn what actually goes in them. Write your own, and design a game in full.  Then design another game in full.  Then turn those designs into a portfolio.

 

On the job hunting front, I suggest you read the book "What Color Is Your Parachute?"  It is an excellent book, and it also has many lessons that will directly apply to breaking in to the industry.


Edited by frob, 14 September 2013 - 11:55 PM.

Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#5 tega12   Members   -  Reputation: 117

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:01 PM

I started with my normal review style of viewing the entire web site from a potential employer standpoint.  I started doing that, but then realized in your case there was absolutely nothing about your web site that says "Hire me".  Normally there are a few good things that are gems: completed games, excellent projects, transferable skills.  But in this case I have gone through the entire site and found nothing compelling.  

 

When I look objectively at your web site, this is what I found:

  • A home page, devoted to a single poorly-written sentence.
  • "About", which is two sentences long.
  • A CV page that makes me want to cry for your life story.
  • A Flash game project --- which would have been a logical place to include the actual game --- where you have three screenshots plus a fourth duplicate screen shot.
  • A "Game Pitch" for a Buffy clone, but is actually four sentences and a link to a PowerPoint presentation. Opening the presentation reveals 7 pages of fluff that you could have pulled from a few minutes on Google, and a single page "Game Proposal" that includes spelling errors and is rather lacking on details.
  • Three documents that were first-year homework assignments. Most look like they were the form "Here is your assignment, hand it in tomorrow morning."
  • And your ENTIRE Year 2 Work, which is a story flowchart consisting of four branches.

I could find nothing good about the site. 

 

I tried to find something good about it. I tried hard. I spent nearly two hours going through it, writing and re-writing this post, then deleting it and starting over. The content needs to be completely scrapped and replaced with actual content, preferably content that will help you get a job.

 

The only things I feel after carefully reading your entire site many times are a mixture of empathy, sadness, and pity.

 

 

 

 

So trying to be constructive, let's see where we can go from here.

 
 

 

 

Please read all the documents linked to in the forum's FAQ.  Most of the information applies to you.  Also, please read all the links under Tom Sloper's web site "Sloperama", as again nearly all of the pages apply to your career choice.

 

You chose to go to a game design program.  That program is not BCS accredited. Whatever your reasons for selecting the school were, you have completed the program and that is where you are now. 

 

It appears you are looking for a job as a game designer.  Game designer is not an entry level position. You won't get an entry level job as a game designer.  It is possible to get a job as a level designer, but the odds of actually finding an opening are small and the odds of your current CV being the best of the lot is abysmal. You will not break in to the industry as a game designer unless there is some incredible detail that was left out of your information.

 

After reading the links in the forum FAQ, you need to pick a job that is entry level. Make that your goal.

 

What job do you want to get?  Of the jobs that are a reliable breaking in path, I recommend QA. Jobs are relatively plentiful.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the constructive feedback and the useful links. I read FAQs about the Games Designer role a few years ago on Sloperama. I read that Game Design isn't a entry level role, so after graduation, I've been mainly applying for QA Testing jobs. I read the FAQs about QA Tester and how you should be close to a developer or publisher to apply for a QA tester position. They are plenty of studios in London. London is a good location for gaming. I applied to Sega Europe. They had a few QA Testing positions. The location is a bit far maybe that's why they haven't taken me for a Interview. Headstrong games, is 20-25 minutes by bus from me and slightly mad studios which isn't too far. You say QA jobs are relatively plentiful, but it doesn't seem to be the case when I look at gamedev.map and look at the list of companies in London and the South East. Mostly it is for other positions some of the QA tester roles look for experience. Some of the companies in America I've seen post a lot of QA jobs.  With other entry level jobs, I read in the FAQs that level design is one. But it is normally a mid level role on the job posts. I had a intern interview at marmalade for a support role internship two months ago. Customer support is another entry level job. I've applied for a few admin jobs within some game companies.  Along with getting real work experience, I've applied for admin jobs and retail assistant jobs. I've had a few interviews recently with retail companies, Toys r us, Game. 


Edited by tega12, 17 September 2013 - 02:04 PM.


#6 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 20363

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:22 PM

When I write that they are relatively plentiful, it means in comparison to other entry level jobs in the industry.

 

QA jobs are not frequently advertised, and they fill up fast.

 

Some companies staff up in a big push once per project.  In that model you have 20 or 30 openings all at once with a very tight hiring window, perhaps just a single week out of the year.  Other companies have a continuous flow of QA folks, mostly hired by word-of-mouth.

 

This is in comparison to other fields that may only have a handful (0-5) of entry level positions open every year.


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#7 tega12   Members   -  Reputation: 117

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:50 PM

When I write that they are relatively plentiful, it means in comparison to other entry level jobs in the industry.

 

QA jobs are not frequently advertised, and they fill up fast.

 

Some companies staff up in a big push once per project.  In that model you have 20 or 30 openings all at once with a very tight hiring window, perhaps just a single week out of the year.  Other companies have a continuous flow of QA folks, mostly hired by word-of-mouth.

 

This is in comparison to other fields that may only have a handful (0-5) of entry level positions open every year.

 

Ok. So the best job strategy would be to just go to local employers and ask about vacancies or via networking. 



#8 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9593

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 03:49 PM


Ok. So the best job strategy would be to just go to local employers and ask about vacancies or via networking.

 

No, the best [QA] job strategy is to send your resume to (or apply online at) the game companies that are within daily commuting distance -- and that you reasonably believe (from researching their games and their websites) might have QA jobs, whether or not they're advertised. AND to network.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.




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